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Explore Africa: 19 Visa Free Countries for Philipp...

Explore Africa: 19 Visa Free Countries for Philippine Passport Holders

Today, a blog reader wrote to me: “I applied for a visa in Italy and was rejected. What will I do?” What will I do? What will I do seems to be a very hard question. Something I couldn’t answer. Something that only you can answer. However, I am here to help.

Now that I am traveling to visa-free countries for Philippine passport holders, I have let go of all the pain, unhappiness and rejection while processing visas. I will always choose to be happy rather than stick my head into an area that I am not welcome in.

Our image of Africa is always about the animals, the safari, the wildlife — images that are true and obviously exciting to explore. But let me tell you that Africa is more than that. Wouldn’t you want to be in a place where you feel truly welcome? Where your travels are not judged by your income tax or money in the bank?

Today, I will walk you through 19 visa free countries that Philippine passport holders can visit.

COUNTRY
VISA REGULATION
Cape Verde
21 days
Comoros
21 days
Djibouti
30 days
Gambia
visa issued upon arrival,
but must get prior clearance from immigration.
Guinea-Bissau
90 days visa issued on arrival
Kenya
90 days visa issued on arrival
Madagascar
30 days visa issued on arrival
Mauritania
visa issued on arrival
Morocco
90 days
Mozambique
30 days visa issued on arrival
Rwanda
90 days
Saint Helena
30 days visa issued on arrival
Senegal
30 days issued on arrival,
invitation letter required. Visa available online.
Seychelles
30 days permit, must show sufficient funds
& proof of accommodation.
Somalia
30 days on arrival, invitation letter by sponsor
submitted 2 days before arrival.
Tanzania
visa issued on arrival
Togo (Togolese Republic)
7 days, visa issued on arrival.
Requires yellow fever vaccination
Uganda
90 day visa issued on arrival at Entebbe Airport
Zambia
90 days visa issued on arrival

Alright, we’re already there. We’ve established that it is already visa-free. But you might be wondering — “what can I do in these countries?” I know it doesn’t sound appealing to you because you have no idea what some of those countries are. I’ve visited 50% of the list so I will make a brief introduction for each destination.

 

1. CAPE VERDE ISLANDS

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A Portuguese colony and is officially known as the Republic of Cabo Verde, it is an island country located 350 miles off the coast of West Africa. Cape Verde is famed for the hospitality of the people. You’ll see why many arrived and didn’t leave.

Currency: Escudo de Cabo Verde (ECV) | $1 USD = 102.40 ECV

Cost of living/Travel costs: Cost of living in Cape Verde is 27.72% higher than the Philippines. An inexpensive meal (including fast food) in a restaurant in Cape Verde costs 700 ECV; beers at 150 ECV; Coffee at 66.25 ECV; grocery shopping ranges from 90 ECV – 200 ECV (milk, fruits, vegetables, etc). Local transport like busses & trains cost 44 ECV – 100 ECV.

 Places to visit: Mt Fogo, Santo Antao, Boa Vista, Brava, Mindelo, Santiago & Maio.

 

2. COMOROS

Mysterious, stunning, enchanting — these are the three words that best describe Comoros Island. A mixture of a remote and a fugitive type of destination, it is filled with beautiful beach resorts and a surprising night life. It is not a destination for everyone though. Islam is evident everywhere and as usual, women are expected to show modesty and alcohol is a no-no for everyone.

Currency: Comorian franc (KMF) | $1 USD = 458.41 KMF

Places to visit: Moheli and around, Fomboni, Trou du Prophete, Moroni, Mitsamiouli, M’beni, Itsandra, Iconi, Hatsambou, Chomoni, Bangoi-Kouni & Lac Sale, Grande Comore, Sima & the West.

 

3. DJIBOUTI

Djibouti has a few similarities with Iceland — outdoor activities, extinct volcanoes, stunning salt lakes and of course, this comes with heaps of outdoor activities. However, the cost of living is not that cheap but worth every penny!

Currency: Djiboutian franc (FDJ) | $1 USD = 177.62 FDJ

Cost of living/Travel costs: An inexpensive meal (including fast food) in a restaurant in Djibouti costs 1,500 FDJ; beers at 1,000 FDJ; Coffee at 950 FDJ; grocery shopping ranges from 25 – 300 FDJ (milk, fruits, vegetables, etc). Local transport like busses & trains cost 550 ECV.

Places to visit: Djibouti City, Goda Mountains & Tadjoura

 

4. THE GAMBIA

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Beautiful people at the market.

A small West African country, Gambia is the smallest country in mainland Africa. Since it is located in the Atlantic coast, stunning shorelines and beaches are the main attraction of the country. Eco lodges and wildlife parks are already available so it’s a perfect, secluded vacation spot for your planned unplugging!

Currency: Gambian dalasi (GMD) | $1 USD = 39.60 GMD

Cost of living/Travel costs: Cost of living in Gambia is 0.77% lower than the Philippines. An inexpensive meal (including fast food) in a restaurant in Gambia costs 100 GMD; beers at 65 GMD; Coffee at 21.67 GMD; grocery shopping ranges from 8 – 270 GMD (milk, fruits, vegetables, etc). Local transport like busses & trains cost 8 GMD.

Places to visit: Bijilo Forest Park, Albert Market, African Living Art Center, Kachikally Crocodile Pool, Jufureh & James Island, Tanji & Brufut.

 

5. GUINEA BISSAU

Located in West Africa, Guinnea Bissau was once part of the Gabu and the Mali Empire. Because of the wars, the daily life is tough but its people always find a way to have fun and make music. Stunning beaches, natural forest, mansions and castles are the main tourist attractions.

Currency: West African CFA franc | $1 USD = 611.42 CFA

Places to visit: Ilha de Bubaque, Quinhamel, Arquipelago dos Bijagos, Ilha de Bolama.

 

6. KENYA

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Vast savannahs and a tremendous wildlife, Kenya is home to the greatest animal species in the world. Kenya has stunning landscapes, numerous wildlife activities and it is a perfect place to unplug and be closer to nature.

Currency: Kenyan shilling (KES) | $1 USD = 102.24 KES

Cost of living/Travel costs: Cost of living in Kenya is 46.96% higher than the Philippines. An inexpensive meal (including fast food) in a restaurant in Kenya costs 300 KES; beers at 200 KES; Coffee at 210 KES; grocery shopping ranges from 58 – 600 KES (milk, fruits, vegetables, etc). Local transport like busses & trains cost 50 KES.

 

Places to visit: Lake Nakuru National Park, Mount Kenya National Park, Lamu, Hell’s Gate National Park, Malindi.

 

7. MADAGASCAR

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Yes, the lemur from the Madagascar movie really exists. Baobabs, rainforest, trekking, diving and a lot of outdoor activities. Madagascar is the most exotic destination there is.

Currency: Malagasy ariary (MGA) | $1 USD = 3,200.20 MGA

Cost of living/Travel costs: Cost of living in Madagascar is 42.54% higher than the Philippines. An inexpensive meal (including fast food) in a restaurant in Madagascar costs 6,246.13 MGA; beers at 3,200.20 MGA; Coffee at 8,000 MGA; grocery shopping ranges from 1,442 – 42,000 MGA (milk, fruits, vegetables, etc). Local transport like busses & trains cost 491.77 MGA.

Places to visit: Anakao, Nosy Iranja, Ile Sainte Marie, Lavanono, The Great Reef, Les Trois Baies.

 

8. MAURITANIA

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I think Mauritania is my favourite African country in terms of culture. I was involved in women and children’s rights movement here and I have discovered a lot of beautiful things about their culture. But we are not going into that. Mauritania is located in West Africa close to Morocco. Since it is close to West Sahara, it has outstanding sand dunes, plateaus and attractive little towns.

Currency: Mauritanian Ouguiya (MRO) | $1 USD = 344 MRO

Cost of living/Travel costs: An inexpensive meal (including fast food) in a restaurant in Mauritania costs 1,200 MRO; Coffee at 600 MRO; grocery shopping ranges from 100 – 1,500 MRO (milk, fruits, vegetables, etc). Local transport like busses & trains cost 1,000 MRO.

Places to visit: Nouakchott, The Adrar, The Atlantic Coast, Atar, Chinguetti.

 

9. MOROCCO

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Roadtripping to the Sahara Desert.

Morocco is the African country where I spent most of my time in Africa. It is one of the Muslim countries that is very open to tourists. Because of its close proximity to Europe, Morocco is flocked by thousands of visitors every year.

Currency: Moroccan dirham (MAD) | $1 USD = 10 MAD

Cost of living/Travel costs: Cost of living in Morocco is 2.22% higher than the Philippines. An inexpensive meal (including fast food) in a restaurant in Morocco costs 30 MAD; beers at 25 MAD; Coffee at 12.86 MAD; grocery shopping ranges from 3 – 82 MAD (milk, fruits, vegetables, etc). Local transport like busses & trains cost 5 MAD.

Places to visit: Marrakesh, Ourzazate, Sahara Desert, Chefchaouen, Rabat, Casablanca, Merzouga, Tangier.

 

10. MOZAMBIQUE

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Stunning coastlines and a beautiful and rich culture, Mozambique has a lot of opportunities for outdoor adventures. You might not think of visiting this country but its beaches, turquoise waters and colourful ocean wildlife will make you want to stay.

Currency: Mozambiacan metical (MZN) | $1 USD = 46,500 MZN

Cost of living/Travel costs: Cost of living in Mozambique is 33% higher than the Philippines. An inexpensive meal (including fast food) in a restaurant in Morocco costs 450 MZN; beers at 60 MZN; Coffee at 74.44 MZN; grocery shopping ranges from 20 – 350 MZN (milk, fruits, vegetables, etc). Local transport like busses & trains cost 10 MZN.

Places to visit: Mozambique Island, Quirimbas Archipelago, Gorongasa National Park, Bazaruto Archipelago, Ibo Island, Lake Niassa, Niassa Reserve.

 

11. RWANDA

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Rwanda, a country which is always incorporated with the genocide in 1994 is always ‘dangerous’ to many tourists. However, the country has developed miraculously through the years in terms of politics. Tourism boosted again. Rwanda prides itself with its beautiful mountains and jungles.

Currency: Rwandan franc (RWF) | $1 USD = 751.20 RWF

Cost of living/Travel costs: Cost of living in Rwanda is 16.56% higher than the Philippines. An inexpensive meal (including fast food) in a restaurant in Rwanda costs 2,000 RWF; beers at 800 RWF; Coffee at 2,166 RWF; grocery shopping ranges from 343 – 3,700 RWF (milk, fruits, vegetables, etc). Local transport like busses & trains cost 250 RWF.

Places to visit: Gorilla Safari, Kigali Memorial Centre, Parc Nationale Nyungwe Forest, Kigali, Volcanoes National Park.

 

12. SAINT HELENA

Turks Cap

Photo by my good friend, Iain Mallory.

Yes, it’s a country and I visited this, too! Walking trails and wildlife encounters is Saint Helena’s specialty. The Galapagos of the Atlantic, Saint Helena has over 500 species and marine life including dolphins and whale sharks. Perfect for the wet traveller in you!

Currency: Saint Helena pound (SHP) | $1 USD = 0.68 SHP

Cost of living/Travel costs: An inexpensive meal (including fast food) in a restaurant in Saint Helena costs 5 SHP; beers at 1.50 SHP; Coffee at 2.50 SHP; grocery shopping ranges from 0.90 – 11 SHP (milk, fruits, vegetables, etc).

Places to visit: Jamestown, hiking/road tripping around St Helena.

 

13. SENEGAL

sea-727141_1280

I visited this country just because it was mentioned in one of Manu Chao’s song. However, upon visiting, I discovered a lot more. Like Marrakesh, Dakar is full of nightlife, markets, beaches and of course, my favourite part — the music. Senegal’s music is definitely a good reason to visit the country!

Currency: West African CFA franc | $1 USD = 611.42 CFA

Cost of living/Travel costs: An inexpensive meal (including fast food) in a restaurant in Senegal costs 2,488 CFA; beers at 1,500 CFA; Coffee at 1,350 CFA; grocery shopping ranges from 450 – 10,000 CFA (milk, fruits, vegetables, etc).

Places to visit: Jamestown, hiking/road tripping around St Helena.

 

14. SEYCHELLES

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Part of my 2016 destination pick, Seychelles is the ultimate paradise of the world. Never heard of it? Imagine yourself sunbathing on a powder white sand, not sharing the beach side with other people. See it? That’s Seychelles. Famous as a honeymoon destination, Seychelles is full of marine reserves and magnificent beaches. Worry not — it is definitely an affordable destination!

Currency: Seychellois rupee (SCR) | $1 USD = 13.11 SCR

Cost of living/Travel costs: Cost of living in Seychelles is 90.55% higher than the Philippines. An inexpensive meal (including fast food) in a restaurant in Seychelles costs 150 SCR; beers at 37.50 SCR; Coffee at 46 SCR; grocery shopping ranges from 12 – 110 SCR (milk, fruits, vegetables, etc). Local transport like busses & trains cost 5 SCR.

Places to visit: whale swimming, the pyramid shaped island of Silhouette, beaches of the West Coast, the exclusivity of North Island, tropical paradise of La Digue, wildlife sanctuary in Fregate, outdoor adventure in Praslin, luxurious white beach in Denis.

 

15. SOMALIA

To date, it is not advisable to travel in Somalia because of the 2 recent terrorism attacks in Mogadishu. There is a very high threat of terrorism including kidnapping. Food shortage is also ongoing. Kindly research on travel safety advice in Somalia as I haven’t been there myself.

 

16. TANZANIA

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Ahhhh, another favourite. I spent a month volunteering in Zanzibar and I definitely enjoyed it! Located in East Africa, Tanzania is also home to herds of wildlife and stunning landscapes. The famous Mt Kilimanjaro is also located here.

Currency: Tanzanian Shilling (TZS) | $1 USD = 2182.20 TZS

Cost of living/Travel costs: Cost of living in Tanzania is 42.57% higher than the Philippines. An inexpensive meal (including fast food) in a restaurant in Tanzania costs 10,382.16 TZS; beers at 5,278 TZS; Coffee at 4,3017 TZS; grocery shopping ranges from 1,700 – 24,000 TZS (milk, fruits, vegetables, etc). Local transport like busses & trains cost 538 – 600 TZS.

Places to visit: Zanzibar, Serengeti National Park, Mt Kilimanjaro National Park, Ngorongoro Crater, Mahale Mountains National Park.

 

17. TOGO

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Photo Source: Wikipedia

Looking for an off-the-beaten path destination? Togo is it! Landscapes, lakes and a load of outdoor activities await!

Currency: West African CFA franc | $1 USD = 611.42 CFA

Cost of living/Travel costs: An inexpensive meal (including fast food) in a restaurant in Togo costs 2,000 CFA; beers at 600 CFA; Coffee at 600 CFA; grocery shopping ranges from 150 – 1,200 CFA (milk, fruits, vegetables, etc). Local transport like busses & trains cost 600 CFA.

Places to visit: Lome, Kpalime, Grand Marche (Market), Koutammakou, Dapaong, Agbodrafo & Togoville.

 

18. UGANDA

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At present, it is advised NOT TO travel to some of the remote northeastern districts (except trips to Kidepo Valley National Park). However, some parts of Uganda are safe to travel to. Nicknamed as the pearl of Africa, Uganda is home to the tallest mountain range in Africa and to a herd of wildlife.

Currency: Ugandan shilling (UGX) | $1 USD = 3,385 UGX

Cost of living/Travel costs: Cost of living in Uganda is 1.59% higher than the Philippines. An inexpensive meal (including fast food) in a restaurant in Tanzania costs 6,000 UGX; beers at 3,500 UGX; Coffee at 6,700 UGX; grocery shopping ranges from 5,000 – 28,000 UGX (milk, fruits, vegetables, etc). Local transport like busses & trains cost 2,000 UGX.

Places to visit: Bwindi National Park, Murchison Falls, Kibale National Park, Jinja, Lake Bunyonyi.

 

19. ZAMBIA

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Wander with animals and visit the most beautiful waters of Southern Africa including the spectacular Victoria Falls (bordering Zimbabwe). Wide variety of activities and a taste of culture is available, too.

Currency: Zambian kwacha (ZMK) | $1 USD  = 11, 089 ZMK

Cost of living/Travel costs: Cost of living in Zambia is 31.11% higher than the Philippines. An inexpensive meal (including fast food) in a restaurant in Tanzania costs 59.19 ZMK; beers at 15 ZMK; Coffee at 20 ZMK; grocery shopping ranges from 8 – 80 ZMK (milk, fruits, vegetables, etc). Local transport like busses & trains cost 5 ZMK.

Places to visit: Victoria Falls, Kalambo Falls, South Luangwa National Park, Zambezi River, Kafue National Park, Lusaka.

Disclaimer: Prices above are rough estimates based on my experience. Prices may vary. If you have anything to contribute for better data reliability, please leave a comment below or e-mail trishavelarmino[at]gmail[dot]com.

 

Traveling from the Philippines

Unfortunately, there are not much direct flights going to these destinations but you can always opt to fly to South Africa. The estimate round trip flight from Manila to Johannesburg costs Php35,000 – Php45,000 ($700 – 800 USD). From South Africa, there are a lot of cheap flights going to these countries, individually. You can also fly from the major cities of South Africa: Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Nelspruit.

Please take note that Filipinos need a visa to travel to South Africa. Visit the nearest consulate in your area for more details.


So what if your Schengen/USA visa wasn’t approved? Don’t you think these options are more exciting and have room for more adventures? Let me know what you think! Leave your comments below!

Use Pinterest to plan your travels! If you love this post, hover on the image below to pin it!

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Trisha is one of those people who left their comfortable life to travel the world and learn about life. Her style is to stay in one place she likes for 3 months (or more) to know what it feels like to eat, cook, speak and sleep in another culture that isn’t hers. She'd like to believe she's not traditionally traveling but she just chooses to be somewhere else all the time. Trisha also loves extremely spicy food, pineapples, plants and symmetry. In no particular order, her favourite cities in the world are Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Hong Kong and Tel Aviv. Follow her life adventures on Instagram - @psimonmyway

  1. Ryan Santiago

    6 January

    Exciting! I’m really interested in visiting/living in Africa once I have finished my backpacking trip around Latin America (which I will start in July of this year!). I think Portuguese is spoken in many parts of Africa, and Spanish and French are widely spoken in Morocco, so I really have a lot of reasons to visit these stunning countries! 😀

    • Trisha Velarmino

      10 January

      One step at a time, Ryan! You will get there! WE will get there. 🙂 Good luck and you know the force is always with you. 😉

  2. Sreeram

    13 January

    Interesting Article, though I am not a pinoy, have shared this with some kabayans….

  3. Tracie Howe

    15 January

    It’s sad to realize how many nationalities are prevented from traveling to certain countries. I feel privileged to be pretty well accepted almost everywhere as an American, but I know that my own country is not as accepting as those countries where I can easily travel. I think the world is already becoming more welcoming to more and more nationalities. Hopefully you will be able to visit certain countries that you’ve been dreaming of in good time.

  4. Valerie D Perry

    16 January

    So many places to add to my travel list! Great post!

  5. Oh Africa… It’s in my wish list since I was born! I’m Portuguese so there’s a huge connection between Portugal and, obviously, countries like Mozambique, Angola, Cabo Verde, etc. Very informative post, Trisha!

  6. Elizabeth

    17 January

    There are a lot of place you CAN visit and this post does a great job of highlighting some fantastic things to do. Things that are on a lot of people’s bucket lists and dream destinations. I am sure I could find something to entertain myself 🙂

  7. Jessica

    17 January

    I do love your introductory sentences, trisha. Time to see these welcoming countries in Africa which will never give us heartbreak in visa rejection but just wonderful memories to treasure. 😉

  8. Loved the photos! The landscape photos are absolutely beautiful!

  9. evan kristine

    18 January

    Great break thru of all the possible places for Filipino’s to go. Its a big world with loads of great places to visit – without visa!!! )

  10. Very useful post for those in that situation – such a varied continent, something to please every type of traveller. Would love to experience Victoria Falls.

  11. Himanshu

    19 January

    After reading your post, i want to check if any of these are visa free for Indian. You have triggered an itch. 🙂

  12. noel

    24 January

    Fortunately I’m not a Philippines citizen, but you laid it out very nicely for your audience that does do this, great job.

  13. mark

    24 January

    A very comprehensive list of 8nformation herebfor travellers from the Philippines. Well done for putting it all together

  14. Stefan

    24 January

    An excellent post I will forward to my Filipino friends. I am British and on the 20th October we celebrate the British Filipino Friendship day.

    “FRIENDSHIP? WHAT FRIENDSHIP?” (one of my Filipino friends pointed out) “You guys make it so hard for us to visit!” The UK visa rules are quite terrible/strict!

  15. Erica

    24 January

    I must admit that I wasn’t particularly that drawn to Africa until a few years ago. But some countries are becoming top priorities to me because of so much diversity it offers. Which country to tick off my list first is the problem!

  16. melody pittman

    24 January

    Nice list of places!I am not a Fillipino traveler but this list will be of utmost of importance to natives. I would pick going to Seychelles, especially right now with this cold front in the US.

  17. Elena

    24 January

    Great resource and beautiful photos! I always have to remind myself to check visa requirements – even with a US passport as it is easy to get lulled into just assuming that you don’t need to do anything in advance depending on your travel history.

  18. antonette

    24 January

    Great list! I’m sad I’ve never been to Africa but I’m sure there will be a first time coming very soon!

  19. Priya

    25 January

    So many places to add to our travel list – lets start with Kenya, Morocco…

  20. Lindsay Nieminen

    25 January

    What a great list of places to visit. Despite not having a Philippines passport, you have definitely given me some new countries to think about visiting!

  21. Sue_PH

    9 March

    Hi Trisha! I love reading your travels, its like reading my favorite storybooks and keeps me motivated that in time, dreams do come true:) I learned a lot from your blog and this article is definitely helpful! my friends in Africa (Benin and Togo) are waiting for me to visit them someday. This article definitely fires up the travelling spirit in me. haha! Take care on your travels and have lots of fun! =)

  22. Camille

    10 March

    This is nice knowing which countries to go. But I am curious how you calculate the cost of living? Because I have a friend from Madagascar and he is quite astonish about the prices and it might be that the prices you took are those expensive ones or in a luxurious life than the average perhaps, just guessing?

  23. aicy

    30 May

    Hi Trisha,

    I’m Aicy i love your Africa trip article. You inspired me to travel Africa. i have 1 question as a Philippine passport holder, do we need a show money in Philippine Immigration when travelling long term in 19 African countries? I need your advise 😀 poor traveler here 🙁

  24. chunky

    26 November

    This is LOVE! 🙂 Any suggestion/s to which part of Africa is/are safe for babies? Thanks!

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